NBA

Is Signing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Brother a Horrible Idea for the Bucks?

The Milwaukee Bucks were one of the best teams in the NBA last season and hope to continue that trend in 2019-2020. But they have one occupant on their current roster that has raised some eyebrows: Thanasis Antetokounmpo, brother to one of the NBA’s best, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Let’s take a closer look at the careers of Giannis and Thanasis and determine whether signing Giannis’s brother is a horrible idea for the Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo career overview

Giannis is currently in his seventh year in the NBA. He’s quickly become one of the league’s top players. Here’s what he’s achieved so far in this young but successful career (all stats are valid through games played on November 7, 2019): 

  • 473 games 
  • 19 points per game
  • 8.4 rebounds per game 
  • 4.2 assists per game
  • 52.3% shooting on field goals 
  • 22.1 Player Efficiency Rating 
  • 55.2 win shares 

In 2018-2019, Giannis won what will probably be the first of many Most Valuable Player Awards. This season, he’s averaging 29 points per game, 14.3 rebounds per game, and 7.6 assists per game. He continues to expand his game and appears to only be getting better.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo career overview

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Giannis’s brother, Thanasis, was a second-round pick of the New York Knicks in 2014. He’s only appeared in three games over the course of his NBA career, with one of them coming this season for the Bucks. He has two points, two rebounds, and an assist in only six minutes of action. 

Based on the available evidence — he was a second-round pick five years ago appearing in only three games thus far — it’s fairly clear Thanasis hasn’t made much of an impact at the NBA level.

And while it’s not uncommon for players to improve after maturing for a few years, it feels as though Thanasis would have shown something more at this point from a potential perspective. It’s pretty clear what the Bucks have in him — an end of the bench player who won’t log significant minutes or impact the stat sheet in any way.

Is signing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s brother a horrible idea for the Bucks? 

Thanasis’s low output and his continued role on the Bucks‘ bench raises questions. Is he only there to appease Giannis? The answer to that is likely yes. There just isn’t much evidence that he possesses the skill set to play in the NBA. There are other end-of-bench type players who have made significantly more of an impact during their five years in the league. 

The next question: why are the Bucks trying so hard to appease Giannis? The answer to that is similarly clear. They want to re-sign him in free agency. It’s not a bad strategy — after all, the state of the franchise rests in Giannis’s hands.

If he returns, they’ll have a shot at being competitive. Last season he led the team to the best overall regular-season record in the NBA. They also qualified for the Eastern Conference championship, winning two games before losing four straight to the eventual champion Raptors. While they would have liked to do better, the Raptors were a great team and just getting to that round represented a significant step for the Bucks. 

If Giannis leaves, however, the franchise is back at square one. It’s hard to tell what their plan will be if they don’t convince him to return, but it can’t beat the alternative of keeping him. From a certain point of view, signing Giannis’s brother to make him happy seems like a good idea. 

But ultimately, the best way to get Giannis to return is to stay competitive. If the Bucks were to fill that roster spot with a younger, better player, it may make the team better. Sure, it would only be an incremental improvement, but that can add up over the course of a season.

If the Bucks truly want to keep Giannis, they should focus their efforts on being the best team they can. That means having the best roster possible.